Want to turbo charge the flavour in your homegrown fruits and veggies? Gro sweeter tomatoes. Aromatic strawberries. Fire-powered chilies, and more. In his book, Grow for Flavor, James Wong shows us how to tweak our methods and work with nature to bring out the best in our crops.
If you are interested in indoor food growing, also see Indoor Kitchen Gardening.
Grow for Flavor
Have you ever grown a batch of lovingly nurtured tomatoes only to be disappointed by the flavor when you harvest them? What about strawberries that just don’t have that delightful taste we all crave? Or chilies that lack the zing?
In his new book, Grow for Flavor, James Wong provides simple tweaks and changes we can make to our food gardens to supercharge the taste and aroma of our crops.
Here’s a few examples.
How to Turbo Charge the Flavour of Your Homegrown Fruit and Veggies
- How aspirin can boost the sugar and vitamin C content of tomatoes.
- Red plastic can dramatically improve the flavour of strawberries.
- Growing basil on the top shelf of a greenhouses boosts its aroma.
- Carrots are always sweetest if you avoid boiling them.
- Blueberries in pies can be higher in antioxidants.
You will notice there is no mention of adding refined sugar or baking soda. These are two gardening myths that have not scientific evidence but keep Pinterest very busy!
Personally, I’m not a big fan of the superlatives (turbo charge, superfoods, etc.) that are so commonly used today, but I’m always interested in simple, proven ways to make the most of what I grow (without harmful side effects).
This book maintains that all of the recommended ideas are based on scientific facts as opposed to gardening’s love of wives’ tales. Perhaps you’ve tried some of these things already and have an opinion.
Can Water Ruin Sweetness?
Have you ever noticed how a summer with good rain can actually produce bland-tasting veggies?
This really hit home for me last year. I grow over 80 tomato plants (heirlooms and hybrids) and we had consistent rainfall for much of the summer. The tomatoes grew nicely with lush plants and a lot of fruit but gah… the tastes were bland. In fact, the word that came to mind was bloated. There was more water than needed and it was taken up into the tomatoes themselves, completely diluting the flavours.
According to the book, I should watch the water a week before harvesting the tomatoes to prevent this problem from happening. While this could be tricky with an in-ground garden, I grow my tomatoes in containers so I could feasibly cover the soil and try this out for the determinates (the ones that fruit all at once).
The book is filled with gorgeous, vibrant photos, ideas for supercharging your fruits and veggies, recommendations for varieties to try, recipes and preservation tips, and more.